Updated September 2016
Back in 2012, I had the pleasure of having a coffee with Jo Hatcher & Helen Power from the VNCA during their recent ‘Unleashed’ Conference. I was really impressed with how passionate the Association is about providing support, resources, and guidance for veterinary nurses in Australia. We were discussing the tough issues that nurses face including low wages, high burnout and low industry retention rates. It’s just sad when someone has to choose between a career in a job they love and buying a house!
I know the industry as a whole struggles with low profitability and many, many practice owners recognise how essential nurses are to the success of their business. They recognise the fantastic range of skills, expertise and passion their nurses contribute every day and would love nothing more than to pay them more money – if only they could afford to pay them more money. Increasing the profitability of veterinary practices is a huge topic and not one that can be addressed in just one blog but I think everyone involved recognises the essential role that veterinary nurses play in the achievement of this goal.
So why do I think every practice owner should pay for ALL of their nurses to be members of their national association?
Reason 1: Synergy = Your business aims & the VNCA aims
As the national association of veterinary nurses in Australia, the VNCA’s mission is “ .. to provide support and direction for Veterinary Nurses and set and maintain standards of excellence in animal care through quality education.”
Doesn’t this fit perfectly with what you hope to achieve in your practice?
Reason 2: Cost – Full VNCA membership for 1 year is only $126.50!
I still can’t believe how reasonable it is to be a member of the VNCA. I’m quite convinced though that this is all relative – $126.50 is still a large sum if your rate of pay isn’t that high!
Reason 3: Every practice wants to provide the best possible care for their patients
The VNCA provides access to CPD that includes leading-edge medical and practical information provided at both national and state levels through seminars, workshops, the VNJA, their Annual Conference and more. What better way to provide the best possible care for your patients than work with nurses who are continually developing and improving their skills and knowledge?
Reason 4: Increase your practice profitability
The more highly skilled, confident and happy your staff are the greater the range and quality of services you can offer your clients. The greater the range and quality of services you offer – the more satisfied your clients will be and the happier they will be to accept your fees as reasonable for the services provided.
Reason 5: Membership encourages networking – Part 1: Problem-solving & best practice
Professional networking offers huge benefits to both the individual and the business in which they work. Networking with others in your industry helps solve problems and develops best practice which means everyone benefits.
It’s also a great opportunity to compare and discuss issues of common interest as well as develop and share ideas, innovation and knowledge of best practice.
Reason 6: Membership encourages networking – Part 2: Emotional support, understanding
Another benefit of networking is the emotional support and understanding you get from realising you’re not alone. The knowledge that others also face the same emotional difficulties every day in their job can be a powerful coping mechanism during stressful times.
Reason 7: Develops pride in your industry
The veterinary industry is full of awesome people who genuinely care. They do an amazing job in frequently stressful situations for often not great financial rewards. If you are a part of the veterinary industry then you have every reason to be proud of it. Membership of national professional associations whether they are for vets, or nurses encourages and develops such pride.
Reason 8: Showing your support of an Association that is aiming to improve the skills & knowledge of your staff
By paying for ALL of your nurses to be members of the VNCA you are making a statement that you support an Association that aims to set and maintain standards of excellence in animal care (SEE Reason 1 – above) and encourages pride and professionalism in their members.
Reason 9: Range of benefits
Membership benefits include the ONLY Australian journal available for vet nurses (AVNJ); VNCA Scholarship Fund; Continuing education benefits- textbook discounts, reduced CPD registration fees and the Annual VNCA Conference; and access to a range of support including the VNCA website & Workplace helpline.
The intangible benefits of being a member of an industry association shouldn’t be forgotten either. The personal satisfaction and pride mentioned above, that comes from being part of an Association that supports an industry you love can be incredibly powerful – especially as such support can also work as a powerful tool in retaining nurses in the industry.
Reason 10: Cost – seriously – $126.50 per nurse???
I know I’ve mentioned cost twice but that’s because $126 seems such a small amount for the benefits already listed.
$126.50/year is also a small investment to make to support your staff in their professional endeavours and ultimately their future – don’t you think?
The VNCA is run by a group of volunteers, who are not only committed to building their Association but also find the time to work, manage their families, and generally juggle multiple balls in the air at the same time – just as so many of us do. The more members they have, the greater the likelihood that the VNCA will be successful in achieving their aims – and I think they deserve all the help they can get!
So what’s stopping you? Click here and join up your vet nurses online now!
Now in case you were wondering…. these top 10 reasons are all mine. The VNCA has no prior knowledge of my blog. If they did I’m sure they could probably come up with the Top 50 Reasons!
Ok, I’ve had my say – now tell me what you think. Do you agree that employers should support their vet nurses by paying for membership in the VNCA?